The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

ZIMBABWE: Tsvangirai takes the stand in treason trial

JOHANNESBURG, 19 January 2004 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday took the witness stand for the first time in his 11-month treason trial and denied charges that he had plotted to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

Court proceedings got underway on Monday after presiding Judge Paddington Garwe granted a prosecution motion to partially amend the charges against Tsvangirai.

The charges now include allegations that Tsvangirai had begun planning transitional arrangements and discussed military support after Mugabe's intended assassination.

"We were astounded that Judge Garwe had granted the motion, but maintain that these new charges are just as spurious as the initial charge. At no point was Mr Tsvangirai involved in a plot to eliminate President Mugabe or engage in any discussion regarding military support," David Coltart, legal advisor to the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told IRIN.

The state's case hinges on a videotape of a meeting in Canada between Tsvangirai and political consultant Ari Ben-Menashe, which, it says, captured Tsvangirai discussing Mugabe's "elimination".

The opposition leader has denied the claims, arguing that the video was doctored to discredit the MDC and "entrap" him.

Tsvangirai faces a possible death sentence if convicted of the plot. The trial resumes on Tuesday.


Themes: (IRIN) Governance, (IRIN) Human Rights



The material contained on this Web site comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post any item on this site, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All graphics and Images on this site may not be re-produced without the express permission of the original owner. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias